Godfreys to close permanently after administrators fail to find buyer 

The vacuum cleaner retailer will shut its doors for good by the end of May, after administrators were unable to secure a viable buyer.

Administrators confirmed on Wednesday that all 141 Godfreys stores across Australia and New Zealand would close.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) administrators had been searching for a buyer for the retailer after it was placed into voluntary administration on 30 January due to a “challenging economic operating environment”.

Australian administrator Craig Crosbie said that while 55 expressions of interest and six indicative offers were received during the sale process, these were either since withdrawn or not sufficient in securing the business’ longer-term future.

“This is not the outcome Godfreys had hoped for following a rigorous process to find a purchaser for the business that could keep the store network trading,” Crosbie said. 

“In the absence of any further bidders coming forward as intermittent trading continues, the process of closing all remaining stores will progress over the next eight weeks.”

In a statement, the administrator of Godfreys’ New Zealand entity, New Zealand Vacuum Cleaner Company Limited (Administrators Appointed) and PwC New Zealand Partner Stephen White said: “We have worked closely with the Australian administrators and Godfreys group management to find a buyer and are saddened this has not happened. We recognise this is a difficult time for staff, franchisees, and stakeholders, and will continue to work closely with all parties to ensure they are kept informed of progress and supported over the coming weeks.”

Staff have been informed that a ‘phased closure’ of all stores will be initiated between now and 31 May 2024. This included 25 head office staff in Australia who were made redundant as of Wednesday.

Administrators said franchisees have been informed that Godfreys can “no longer support them”. Franchised stores can trade until 31 March 2024 to sell any remaining stock or “return stock sold to them during the administration period to receive a credit on amounts owed to Godfreys”. 

The administrators anticipated that some of the Godfreys franchisees would aim to continue to operate their retail businesses into the future, albeit under different brands.

Godfreys was established in 1931 and became one of the world’s largest vacuum cleaner retailers with 220 stores across Australia and New Zealand at its peak.

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